The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) received today a prestigious award from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for developing the world’s first Hands-Free Mooring (HFM) System for ships transiting its locks. The Promising Innovation in Transport Award is given by the International Transport Forum at the OECD, an intergovernmental organization for the transport sector with 54 member countries.
The St. Lawrence Seaway’s 15 locks lift ships a total of 168 metres (551 feet) as they journey from Montreal to Lake Erie. The HFM system uses vacuum pads mounted on vertical rails to secure the ship during the lockage process, tracking the ship as it is raised or lowered, while keeping it at a fixed distance from the lock wall.
HFM equipment will enable the SLSMC to replace the traditional practice of manually securing cargo ships in locks with steel mooring lines, which is time-consuming, labour-intensive and potentially dangerous if a line breaks. The new method of processing ships enables the SLSMC to orchestrate gains in operating efficiency and safety. The installation and full deployment of HFM equipment at all high-lift locks is slated to be completed in 2018.